Dolomites Bike Tour
This trip was designed to give you the best of Italian mountain cycling. Anyone familar with the Giro d'Italia bike race will already know of these mythic climbs: the Stelvio, the Mortirolo, the Gavia, the Passo Pordoi, and the famed "Tre Cime" (three peaks) di Lavaredo which tower over the elegant village of Cortina in the valley below. We originally set up this trip to run alongside the Giro itself, but found it was such a beautiful trip it could stand on its own! What's more, it's actually better run in full summer, from mid-June to mid-September, when the temperatures are warmer and the mountain passes are free of snow. The trip is fully van supported, so feel free to bike as much (or as little!) as you like, and enjoy this spectacular area of northern Italy. We can provide high-quality road bikes as well as low-geared hybrids or even tandems!
Dolomites Bike Tour itinerary
Saturday: Pick-up and bike fitting
Meet mid-afternoon at the Tirano train station (a 2.5 hour train ride from Milan, or 5.5 hrs from Venice), then load the van and drive 45 mins to Bormio. Assemble bikes and short warm-up ride if there’s time. Bormio is a picturesque mountain village located spectacularly between the passes of Gavia and Stelvio. It will make a perfect base for the first two days of cycling. Overnight Bormio. Hotel and dinner included.
Sunday: the Mortirolo and Passo Gavia
Your first ride this morning tackles two of the classic rides in the Italian Alps: the Mortirolo and Passo della Gavia. The Mortirolo is where Pantani launched his first attack in a Grand Tour, dropped Miguel Indurain, and began his career as a cycling legend. After the Mortirolo, attack the Gavia, another mythic climb, where Andy Hampsten battled to the top in the snow and gained enough time to win the Giro in 1988 (the first and only American to win it!). Our cycling expert comments: "It’s long… and steep (17.5 kms, 11 of which are above 8%). Pacing yourself will be the key. At the top the landscape is so bare, and there is only one rifugio, a lake and a glacier: it is one of the most isolated Alpine passes you can find in Italy. Most likely there will be nobody around. Surreal and beautiful.” [More “casual” cyclists can choose to “just” do the Gavia, a Ventoux-like climb on its own!] Return to your hotel for a soak in the hot tub followed by dinner. Overnight Bormio. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Bike the Stelvio and transfer to Canazei
Today we bike the Stelvio, another 20 km climb and the highest road in Italy! Stop for a hearty lunch and a piece of struedel at the top, then fly down the northern side and get picked up for a van shuttle into the heart of the Dolomites and the area around Canazei. Our bike man comments: "The Stelvio is MORE than a climb. It is a legend. My grandma never forgot the time when Coppi and Bartali were climbing it in the late 40s!” Overnight Canazei. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Dolomites classic ride – the “4 Passes” of the Sella group
Today's ride is one of the most famous in all of Italy, and certainly the most famous “ring ride” in the world. The “Sella group” is a ring of four contiguous passes, the Sella, Pordoi, Gardena and Campolongo, making a total distance of 55 km (35 mi.), and elevation gain of 1,780 m (5,800 ft). It's not only a great ride, but it’s set amidst some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the world. Overnight Canazei. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Loop ride via the village of Moena
We head south today and do some more mountain passes before pausing for lunch in Moena, a cute little mountain village in the heart of the Dolomites. Today is a good day to rest the legs and return to the hotel for a delicious home-cooked meal. Overnight Canazei. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Ride east to beautiful Cortina
We head east this morning and ride the Passo Pordoi and Falzarego to the chic and beautiful ski-village of Cortina. Relax at the hotel this afternoon before heading to town for a hearty meal. Overnight Cortina. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Loop ride via the Lago di Misurina, Auronzo, and the "Tre Cime" di Lavaredo
Enjoy a last day of cycling as you ride beneath one of the most famous formations in the Dolomites, the Tre Cime (three peaks) di Lavaredo. Tackle the climb of the Tre Croci before a beautiful descent to Misurina Lake and on to Auronzo for lunch. We dine tonight in one of Cortina's best restaurants to celebrate a wonderful adventure. Overnight Cortina. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Transfer to Venice train station
The closest big city to the end of the trip is Venice, so we will arrange for transport to the Venice airport (which has connections into town or to the train station). Breakfast and transfer to Venice included.
Qualifications: This trip is rated Challenging. The rides are in the mountains and include lots of uphill climbs and downhill zooms. There will be full van support, so you can choose how much to ride each day. The daily distances are between 80 – 120 kms kms (50 – 80 miles) but can be altered according to your wishes.
Tour Cost Includes: All accommodations at comfortable 2 to 3-star hotels, 7 breakfasts and dinners; at least one bilingual Customwalks guide to accompany you during the duration of the tour; support vehicle; all luggage transfers; pick-up from train station or first hotel, and final transfer to Venice. Bike rental is not included since many people decide to bring their own on a tour such as this, but we have a wide selection of bikes available for rent for the week. All departures are accompanied by two guides.
Booking: e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a booking contract (or use the 'Contact Us' link at the top of this page), or click on the 'Book Now' button to the right.
Insurance: We highly recommend the purchase of Trip Insurance. We recommend “Travel Guard” to our North American clients, just click on the logo below. Australian, New Zealander, and British travelers, please consult your insurance brokers.
[travel Guard insurance]
Getting There: the trip starts with your arrival in Tirano, which is about 2.5 hours from Milan or 5-6 hours from Venice by regional train.
Air: The most convenient airport to the beginning of the trip is Milan, while the closest to end of the trip is Venice. For a complete list of Italian airports and a selection of low-cost airlines, see our "Transport Info" page.
Rail: There are regional trains every two hours from Milan to Tirano. See the Trenitalia website (in English) at this link. For alternative high-speed rail travel, see the Italo website. For complete information on using the Italian train system, see our blog post.
Getting Away at the End of the Trip: the trip ends with a transfer to the Venice Airport. From there you can get transport into town or to the train station for onward connections.
If you book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip. Please e-mail us with any specific travel questions.